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How technology like AI can unlock the 'superpowers' of a neurodiverse workforce

Businesses that take on neurodivergent workers can gain a competitive edge, according to research by Deloitte.
Businesses that take on neurodivergent workers can gain a competitive edge, according to research by Deloitte. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Damon Embling
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The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game-changer, as businesses tap into the skills of neurodiverse workers.

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Diversity has long been in the spotlight, as employers battle to recruit and retain talent. Now new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are in the sights of creatives, as they seek to unleash different skills and ways of thinking.

"I think employers should consider or reflect on the fact that 15 to 20 per cent of the workforce are neurodiverse," Benjamin Braun, chief marketing officer at Samsung Europe, told Euronews Next at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

"They sit on immense amounts of superpowers. But we have to, as employers, unlock those superpowers by making sure we accommodate everyone in the workplace".

Samsung's CMO: A personal journey

Braun, who is dyslexic, says technology has a crucial role to play in developing a diverse workforce, drawing on his own personal journey.

"When I grew up and my father brought home a computer for the first time, it had something which was called spellcheck. It was absolutely amazing because when I handed my homework at school, it was judged because of its creativity and not because of its spelling mistakes," he recalled.

"I still draw on a lot of technology to do my job. I do a lot of voice dictation, spell check etcetera, and with AI now coming in, it might take it even further. Let's see how AI plays out. I'm an early adopter, I already use it.

"I can see its potential but, of course, we need to make sure we have frameworks to make sure it is safe to use".

Boosting productivity and competitiveness

Businesses that take on neurodivergent workers can gain a competitive edge, according to Deloitte, highlighting that it fosters diversity of thought, different approaches to work, innovation and creativity.

Many times, we rely on people to come up with different bold, great ideas, and rather than having sequential thinking, lateral thinking, that you get from many neurodiverse people.
Benjamin Braun
CMO, Samsung

It cites research suggesting that organisations with neurodivergent professionals in some roles can be 30 per cent more productive than those without them, and it can boost team morale.

"The creative industry is really good at accommodating neurodiverse people," Braun told Euronews Next.

"Many times, we rely on people to come up with different bold, great ideas and rather than having sequential thinking, lateral thinking, that you get from many neurodiverse people. It allows you to crack and solve business challenges in a new creative and exciting way".

He continued: "A lot of people have beautiful thought processes, but they might find it challenging to verbalise them or put them down in writing and that is where technology comes in".

Leveraging a Gen Z workforce

Diversity and inclusivity go beyond a neurodiverse workforce. Harnessing the skills and perspectives of Gen Z, for instance, is something singled out by Samsung.

"It’s so important that we reach different audiences and every audience, every generation, have a slightly different way of perceiving our communications," said Braun.

"At Samsung, we created the ‘Future Generation Lab,’ where we employ Gen Zers who create content for a Gen Z audience; they do it on their Samsung phones, edit it and push it live. So, that is coming from Gen Zers to Gen Z’ers and it works immensely well".

He continued: "What I find really interesting is that if you judge it by the numbers, it’s so fast. We had an instance when one of our future-generation members created content about the Samsung Frame TV, pushed it live on Friday. By Sunday, they had millions of views".

Watch the video in the media player above for more from this interview at the 2023 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

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